What is Kratom?

What is kratom? It depends on whom you ask.

If you ask those who have used kratom for 10 years, you will generally hear it is a mild plant remedy for easing their their physical and/or emotional discomforts and that it supports a positive mood, or perhaps relieves a variety of conditions better, in their opinion, than prescription or OTC remedies that they had used for years, previous to discovering kratom.

Others will say enthusiastically, “Kratom saved my life!”

If you ask a small town city councilor, “What is kratom?” they may not have heard about it, but -- as soon as they have read the FDA’s accounts of kratom being addictive, associated with various numbers of deaths, plus being an “opioid” and a cause of hallucinations, they may quickly propose to ban it to “keep it out of the hands of children”.

When city councils and state legislative assemblies hear the truth from scientists, such as Jack Henningfield, PhD, recognized expert on addictive drugs and their safety profiles, with a 16 year contribution of leadership and research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), they will hear quite a different story.

Dr. Henningfield has this to say about kratom in his masterful “8 Factor Analysis” of kratom, “... kratom use has not promoted crime or violence. It does not sap the productivity of consumers or jeopardize their health. Its effects are mild and are generally reported to involve alertness and mood enhancement, comparable to the effects of coffee.”

When legislators hear from those who have surveyed thousands of kratom consumers, they learn that kratom is mainly used by those in the 35-75 year age bracket. These are voters with heart-warming stories of escape from being bedridden due to opioid prescription drug use for a variety of painful conditions.

Researchers at Columbia University have found that kratom is an atypical opioid, in that it works through a chemical pathway that avoids to a large degree the negatives -- especially “respiratory depression”, which is the opioid side-effect that kills -- associated with drugs of the opium family. This unique quality of kratom is remarkable, but the FDA has never commented on it and continues to claim that kratom is a factor in a number of deaths -- even though kratom has not been found to cause significant respiratory depression, as seen in this white paper by Jane Babin, Esq., with a PhD in Molecular Biology.

Natural Herb Kratom May Have Therapeutic Effects And Relatively Low Potential For Abuse Or Harm, According To A User Survey

“Researchers say findings underscore need for research and regulation, but not an outright ban on sales.”

Everyone sees kratom through their own lens. Those regulators at the FDA (with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry), see kratom as a threat (to Big Pharma’s profits?) that must be banned.

As many as 16 million consumers see kratom as 1) a solution to their problems with physical or emotional discomforts without the liabilities of opioids or OTC remedies; and 2) a way for them to overcome pharmaceutical or illicit drug withdrawals without the cost and stigma of using either Drug Rehab programs or Pain Management clinics. The Mainstream Media tend to usually answer the question of “What is kratom,” by repeating whatever the FDA or DEA say it is, which has consistently been debunked, as you can see in the White Paper (linked above, written by Jane Babin, Esq., PhD).

On the bright side, the Good News is that the National Institutes of Health and NIDA have funded about $10 Million in research studies to learn whether kratom is safe and to investigate its potential for helping opioid addicts overcome the fearsome withdrawal agony which often stops those habituated to opioids from trying to get free from them.

This does not mean that kratom is a replacement for those seeking the familiar opioid high, the euphoria. Those who do so, disregarding this warning, will usually encounter problems with kratom -- problems that arise from using kratom too often or in increasing quantities -- problems such as constipation, violent nausea, and potentially addictive behavior.

Kratom relieves many discomforts, while restoring a sense of well-being, without producing euphoria or the emotional “reward” of opioid narcotics. This is a key point that new consumers of kratom should understand clearly.

Understanding what is kratom also entails a need to clearly understand what kratom is not -- Kratom is NOT an opioid and will not produce euphoria like opioid drugs or cannabis (despite what the FDA or DEA say). Those who approach kratom with unrealistic expectations -- and their own addictive tendencies -- seem to be the ones who are left with a negative attitude toward kratom.

These are the rare individuals, usually having a history of opioid abuse, who find that -- for them, “kratom is addictive.”

Those who take the time to understand clearly what kratom is, will join the millions who enjoy the unique benefits that kratom provides those who do understand, “what is kratom?


This Article Contributed by: Paul Kemp